Most heat flow data in rifts are uncertain largely because of hydrologic disturbances in regions of extensive fracturing. Estimates of heat flow in deep petroleum tests within a large basin of the Rio Grande rift, which has suffered little syn-rift fracturing, may begin to provide clearer insight into the relationships between high heat flow and crustal thinning processes. The Jornada del Muerto is a large basin located in the Rio Grande rift of south central New Mexico. The region of interest within the Jornada del Muerto is centered about 30 km east of the town of Truth or Consequences, and is approximately 60 km north-south by 30 km east-west. High heat flows are estimated for the region. Values increase from about 90 mWm(-2) in the northern part of the study area to about 125 mWm(-2) in the southern part. These high heat flows are rather enigmatic because in the immediate vicinities of the sites there is little evidence of Cenozoic volcanism or syn-rift extensional tectonics. It is suggested that the geothermal anomaly in the southern Jornada del Muerto (approx. 125 to approx. 95 mWm(-2) results from some type of mass movement-heat transfer mechanism operating in the crust just below the elastic layer. This conclusion is consistent with the geologic and geophysical data which describe a thin crust, apparently devoid of features indicative of extensional-tectonics in the upper part of the lastic crust.